SHANGHAI (AFP) – Chinese banks lent more in November than October, official data showed Friday, after the country’s central bank cut interest rates in a surprise move late November.
A total of 852.7 billion yuan ($137.8 billion) worth of new loans were extended last month, the People’s Bank of China (PBoC) said in a statement.
The figure marked an improvement from 548.3 billion yuan issued in October and beat a median forecast of 650 billion yuan by a Wall Street Journal poll of 16 economists.
Total social financing, a broader measure of credit in the economy, reached 1.15 trillion yuan in November, the PBoC said in a separate statement, up from 662.7 billion recorded in October.
Analysts said China’s rate cut announced on November 21 may have facilitated the credit expansion.
“The higher-than-expected loan data suggest that commercial banks expanded balance sheets after PBoC’s rate cut,” ANZ economists wrote in a note.
“In addition, commercial banks could have ramped up the credit extension at the year-end as many banks still have big unused loan quota.”
China’s top economic planner, the National Development and Reform Commission, sped up approvals for infrastructure projects, also driving up loan extension, ANZ said.
Besides the rate cut, China has so far only resorted to targeted cuts in banks’ reserve requirement ratios (RRR) and covert fund injections into banks to encourage lending.
Nomura economists expected more monetary easing to come, including one RRR cut in each quarter of 2015 and an interest rate cut in the April-June period.
“The rise in new loans is further evidence that the authorities will not let growth slow too sharply,” they said in a research report.